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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
Where’s the Alternative?  

A walk through First Colony Mall makes me want to pull my hair out. You pass by the same stores seen in the same malls throughout the whole nation. Chains and chains of mass-produced zombie cloth stare at you from mannequins in the happily reflecting windows.

You decide to buy something and come to school and walk on the streets to see that ten other people have the exact outfit.

There seems to be a shortage of new ideas in the fashion industry right now. Gap has reissued its khakis in the form of boyfriend trousers for the millionth time. American Eagle and Abercrombie seem to be running out of innuendos to display on their sheer tees. Not to mention Levi’s recycling of their boot-cut jeans...again.

But I guess these recycles operate on the concept of supply and demand. If mainstream- malling America wants another twenty-dollared Henley tee, by god, we’ll give it to them.

But at least mainstream stores and buyers know they are traditional and are proud of it. What gets me the most are the decidedly ‘alternative’ styled stores that are cropping up as a new mainstream-alternative pop culture.

The whole concept of alternative is to deviate from the mainstream. Supposedly niched in individuality, a paradox arises when stores that are known for their independent scenes go commercialized and spawn a generation of pseudo-hipsters pursuing a hypocritical fashion. It’s like in middle school, when punk-rock was synonymous with Good Charlotte and Blink 182 and the style was skateboarding while wearing checkered Vans.

The alternative inspired, decked in black Hot Topic, is now one of the most popular stores in America. With its implied message that wearing band-tees are way cooler than your regular polo, the store attracts youngsters to express their style. But with the same black-zipper pants, rock tee logo, and chunky combat boots, crops of ‘alternative’ zombies are invading the streets.

Same goes with those Converse All-Star chucks. Supposed to be the champion of individual style, they are actually the most popular athletic shoes in history. After Johnny Ramone sported them, they became a key shoe of alternative rock culture. So much for the original punk message of nonconformity and anarchy. But of course you can make the shoes special to you; just change the color of the shoelaces and draw on the canvas. That way, no one will have your truly individual style.

Then there’s Forever 21, the holy mother of fast food fashion. This store is ingenious. It takes designer styles and rips them off to make cheapies for Middle America. Styles are gone in a whirling three weeks as the catwalking Dior and Marc Jacobs design new goodies to be copied. As the fashion breeze changes, so does the dwindling size of your wallet as well as the expansion of the unused back section of your closet.

So where does that leave me? I don’t know actually. I’m seriously confused about fashion trends now, because appearances are just as important as the much-idolized ‘inner beauty,” and I need to find a personal style. But how should I be portrayed in a whirlwind of fashion niches that all sends out a different message? I want individuality but can’t seem to find anything satisfying. Unless you go designer and buy rare couture or go vintage to find oldies goods, pretty much Middle America is doomed in a pseudo-individualistic phase.

Whatever. Maybe I’ll go naked for a while. A true punk revolution. Wait. Watch that be the new trend.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  May 23, 2007